24th/25th Century BC

Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum’s tomb is built in Egypt during the fifth dynasty. It is believed that the two men may have been lovers, making this the first recorded homosexual relationship.

7th Century BC

In 630 BC, Cretan aristocrats institute formal relationship’s between adult princes and adolescent boys, with the double aim to educate the boys and curb population growth. The practice, associated with gymnasia and athletic nudity, is quickly adopted throughout much of ancient Greece.

6th Century BC

In 600 BC, the term Lesbian and Lesbos is used for the first time.

4th Century BC

In 338 BC, the Sacred Band of Thebes, an undefeated elite battalion made up of one hundred and fifty pederastic couples (man boy couples) is destroyed by the forces of Philip II of Macedon.

1st Century


In the 54th year, Nero becomes Emperor of Rome. Nero married two men in legal ceremonies, with at least one spouse accorded the same honors as an empress.

4th Century

In 342, the sons of Constantine, Constans and Constantius II, pass a law read variously by historians as outlawing homosexuality.

6th Century

In 529, Justinian’s code outlaws homosexuality in the Byzantine Empire. The public resists attempts at prosecution.

7th Century

In 650, in early medieval Visigothic Spain, homosexuality is criminalized. However, outside of Spain, homosexuality remains completely legal, and even relatively accepted, in almost all of Europe.


9th Century

In 800-900, during the Carolingian Renaissance, there is a large amount of complex gay poetry. There is no law prohibiting homosexuality.

11th Century

An eleventh century Byzantine legal treatise makes it clear that homosexual unions are legal. In Scandinavia, pederasty was practiced as an institutionalized way of life. St. Peter Damian composed the Book of Gomorrah, in a failed attempt to persuade his contemporaries that homosexuality was a grave sin. Ivo of Chartes is unsuccessful in his attempt to convince Pope Urban II of the dangers of homosexuality.

12th Century

In 1102, the Council of London took measures to ensure that the public knew that homosexuality was sinful, marking a significant shift in church attitudes.

13th Century

The first mention in English common law of a punishment for homosexuality occurs in 1290.

14th Century

King Edward III was unsuccessfully petitioned to banish foreign homosexuals.

16th Century

In 1533, King Henry VIII proclaims sodomy a crime.

17th Century

The first known conviction for lesbian activity in North America occurs in March when Sarah White Norman is charged with lewd behavior with Mary Vincent Hammon in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

18th Century

France and Belgium decriminalize homosexuality.

19th Century

The Netherlands and Italy legalize homosexual acts. Bavaria, Brazil, Portugal, Ivory Coast, and Japan, decriminalize homosexuality.

In 1869, the term “homosexuality” was first used by Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, who attempted to publish the first gay periodical “Urnings” in Germany. The English edition of the book “Sexual Inversion” by Havelock Ellis and John Addington Symonds was published. It was the first book in English to treat homosexuality as neither a disease nor crime, and maintained that it was inborn and unmodifiable.

20th Century


  • Palestine, Panama, Paraguay, and Peru legalize homosexuality.
  • The first gay rights organization in America is founded in Chicago, called The Society for Human Rights.


  • Poland and Uruguay decriminalize homosexuality.


  • The Netherlands organization, Center for Culture and Recreation, a pro-homosexual group, is founded.
  • The Denmark organization, League of 1948, a pro-homosexual group, is founded.
  • Alfred Kinsey publishes “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male,” in which he claims as many as 37% of men have participated in homosexual behavior.
  • Switzerland legalizes male homosexuality.
  • Surinam and Sweden decriminalize homosexuality.



  • The Mattachine Society, the first pro-homosexual group in America, is founded in New York. They publish “One Magazine: The Homosexual Viewpoint.”
  • The Daughters of Bilitis, a pro-lesbian organization, is formed in San Francisco.
  • Arcadie, the first pro-homosexual group in France, is formed.
  • The Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights is formed in Sweden.
  • The Homosexual Law Reform Society is founded in the United Kingdom.
  • Alfred Kinsey publishes “Sexual Behavior in the Human Female,” in which he claims 13% of women have participated in homosexual behavior.
  • Greece and Thailand decriminalize homosexuality.


  • The first United States homosexual student groups are formed. FREE, is founded  at the University of Minnesota, and the Student Homophile League, at Columbia University in New York City.
  • And Australian arm of Daughters of Bilitis is formed in Melbourne.
  • The North American Conference of Homophile Organizations is formed.
  • England, Wales, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Israel, decriminalize homosexuality.
  • The first gay rights demonstration in the U.S. occurs in New York City.
  • The Gay Liberation Front, and Gay Activists Alliance, are founded in New York.
  • The Campaign for Homosexual Equality is formed in Britain
  • Illinois becomes the first U.S. State to remove sodomy laws from its criminal code.
  • Burkina Faso, Poland, and Canada legalize homosexuality.


  • The first lesbian and gay pride march in the U.S. occurs in New York City
  • The London Gay Liberation Front is founded.
  • The first gay demonstration in the United Kingdom occurs.


  • The first open gay dance in the United Kingdom, organized by the Gay Liberation Front, was held at Kensington Town Hall.
  • The first gay march through London occurs.
  • Lesbians invaded the platform at the Women's Liberation Conference, demanding recognition.
  • The “Gay Liberation Front Manifesto” was published, and the first national 'think-in' was held.
  • Oberlin Gay Liberation, an early lesbian, gay, and bisexual student organization in the United States was founded.
  • Austria and Finland decriminalize homosexuality.
  • Colorado and Oregon repeal sodomy laws.
  • The Netherlands lowers the age of homosexual consent to 16.


  • The first U.K. homosexual newspaper, “Gay News,” is founded. It promptly started a “personals” advertisement column.
  • The first Pride 'Carnival and March' through London to Hyde Park was held.
  • Sweden becomes the first country in the world to allow transgendered people to legally change their sex, and provided free hormone therapy.
  • Ann Arbor, Michigan becomes the first city in the U.S. to pass a homosexual rights ordinance.
  • Hawaii legalizes homosexuality.


  • The first national gay rights conference is held by the Campaign For Homosexual Equality in Morecombe.
  • Kathy Kozachenko is elected to the City Council of Ann Arbor, Michigan, as the first openly homosexual candidate to run successfully for elective office in the United States.
  • The American Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from is Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III).
  • West Germany reduces the age of consent for homosexual acts to 18.


  • The first national lesbian conference is held in Canterbury.
  • The London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard is launched. It went 24 hours a day within a year.
  • The first International Gay Rights Conference is held in Edinburgh.
  • The South London Gay Community Centre opens in a Brixton squat.
  • Ohio repeals sodomy laws.
  • Robert Grant founds American Christian Cause to oppose the “gay agenda.”


  • Action for Lesbian Parents is founded.
  • British Home Stores sacked openly homosexual trainee Tony Whitehead; a national campaign picketed their stores.
  • South Australia legalizes homosexuality.
  • Panama allows transsexuals to get their personal documents reflecting their new sex.


  • The Gay Teachers group is founded in Australia.
  • The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement is founded.
  • Robert Grant founds The Christian Voice to take his agenda national.


  • Singer Tom Robinson released 'Glad To Be Gay' with the London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard telephone number on the sleeve. Switchboard telephones immediately went mad.
  • Gay News was prosecuted by Mary Whitehouse for 'blasphemy' after they had printed James Kirkup's poem imagining a Roman centurion having gay sex with Jesus of Nazareth.
  • In November Harvey Milk is elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors as the first openly homosexual candidate elected to public office in the state of California.
  • Quebec prohibits discrimination based upon sexual orientation.
  • Montenegro legalizes homosexuality.
  • Anita Bryant founds Save Our Children.
  • James Dobson founds Focus on the Family.


  • The International Lesbian and Gay Association is launched.
  • The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is held for the first time.
  • The rainbow flag is first used as a symbol of homosexual pride.
  • The Australian Capital Territory decriminalizes homosexuality.


  • Gay Life, the first ever gay series, airs in London. One of its presenters, Michael Attwell, goes on to commission BBC2's Gaytime TV.
  • The first national gay rights march on Washington, DC is held.
  • The Reverend Jerry Falwell founds the Moral Majority.


  • Heaven, the first all-week gay mega-club opened.
  • The first black lesbian and gay groups were founded.
  • The Democratic National Convention becomes the first major political party to endorse homosexual rights.
  • David McReynolds becomes the first homosexual to run for U.S. President on the Socialist ticket.
  • Male homosexuality is decriminalized in Scotland.


  • The leader of the Greater London Council (GLC) promises support to homosexuals, and the GLC gives the first homosexual grant to the London Gay Switchboard.
  • Victoria, Australia decriminalizes homosexuality
  • Norway becomes the first country in the world to enact a law to prevent discrimination against homosexuals.
  • Hong Kong’s first sex-change operation is performed.
  • Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Review publishes a report of 5 male homosexuals, 2 of whom had died, with pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, an opportunistic infection.



  • The term “AIDS” is defined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
  • The Terrence Higgins Trust was launched and named after the man who was thought to have been the first to have died with AIDS in the U.K.
  • Julian Meldrum started the first regular column on AIDS in Capital Gay.
  • The first Gay Games were held in San Francisco in August and September.
  • Male homosexuality is decriminalized in Northern Ireland.
  • Wisconsin becomes the first state to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
  • New South Wales becomes the first Australian state to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.


  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is identified as the cause of AIDS.
  • Gay News collapsed; sales had plummeted after free newspapers had become available.
  • The first national lesbian and gay television series, One in Five, was shown on Channel 4 in the U.K.
  • United States Congressman Gerry E. Stubbs publicly reveals his homosexuality on the floor of the House of Representatives, becoming the first openly homosexual member of the U.S. Congress.


  • Massachusetts re-elects Gerry E. Stubbs.
  • Chris Smith, newly elected to the U.K., publicly proclaims his homosexuality.
  • The homosexual association, Ten Percent Club,  is formed in Hong Kong.
  • New South Wales and the Northern Territory in Australia legalize homosexual behavior.


·        France prohibits discrimination against homosexuality in employment and services.

·        A memorial to homosexual victims of the Holocaust is dedicated.


  • The Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists presents a Distinguished Service Award to Barney Frank, a homosexual U.S. congressman.
  • New Zealand legalizes homosexual acts between males over 16-years-old.


  • ACT UP (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power) stages its first major demonstration.
  • U.S. Congressman Barney Frank publicly admits to his homosexuality.
  • Homomonument, a memorial to persecuted homosexuals, opens in Amsterdam.
  • Greece lowers the age of consent in homosexual behavior to 15.
  • The Pink Paper is founded.


  • The City College of San Francisco created the first gay and lesbian studies department at an American institution of higher education.
  • Sweden is the first country to pass laws protecting homosexuals regarding social services, taxes, and inheritances.
  • Canada lowers the age of consent for sodomy to 18.
  • Canadian MP Svend Robinson publicly announces his homosexuality.


  • Denmark is the first country in the world to give legal recognition to homosexual partnerships.
  • Western Australia legalizes homosexuality.


  • The direct action group OutRage! is founded in London.
  • University of Colorado football coach Bill McCartney founds Promise Keepers, which promotes traditional masculinity.


  • The red ribbon is first used as a symbol of the fight against HIV/AIDS.
  • OutRage! held a kiss-in at Picadilly, London, and one man climbed the Eros statue.
  • Washington, D.C. held its first Black Lesbian and Gay Pride celebration.
  • Ukraine, Hong Kong, and Queensland, Australia decriminalize homosexuality.


  • Gay Men Fighting AIDS (GMFA) was founded.
  • The World Health Organization removes homosexuality from its ICD-10 (International Classification of Diseases).
  • Australia allows homosexuals to serve in the military.
  • Isle of man, Estonia, and Latvia, legalize homosexuality.


·        The third gay rights march on Washington, DC is held.

·        Clinton’s “don’t ask don’t tell” policy is instituted.

·        The Republic of Ireland repeals sodomy laws.

·        Russia decriminalizes consensual male sodomy.

·        Lithuania legalizes homosexuality.

·        Norway enacts registered partnership civil union laws that grant homosexuals the same rights as married couples, except for the right to adoption and a church wedding.


  • OutRage! 'outed' eight bishops, and provoked debate within the Church of England.
  • South Africa and Albania legalize homosexuality.
  • The United Kingdom reduces the age of consent for homosexual men to 18.
  • Canada grants refugee status to homosexuals fearing for their well-being in their home country.
  • Israel’s supreme court defines homosexual couple’s rights as the same as any common-law couple.


·        Sweden legalizes homosexual registered partnerships.

·        The Supreme Court of Canada rules that sexual orientation is a prohibited ground of discrimination.


  • Robert Runcie, ex-Archbishop of Canterbury, admits to having ordained known homosexual men.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina decriminalize homosexuality.
  • The Supreme Court strikes down Colorado’s Amendment 2, which denied homosexual’s special rights.


·        Ellen DeGeneres’ character on the TV sitcom “Ellen” comes out as a lesbian.

·        South Africa and Fiji amend their Constitutions to explicitly prohibit discrimination against homosexuals.

·        The United Kingdom extends immigration rights to homosexuals akin to marriage.



  • A statue of Oscar Wilde, a celebrated homosexual, is unveiled in central London.
  • Sexual orientation is read into the IRPA, Alberta, Canada’s human rights act.
  • Equador explicitly prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
  • Chile decriminalizes homosexuality.


·        Vermont Democratic Governor, Howard Dean, signs a law sanctioning homosexual civil unions, entitling homosexuals to marital rights and benefits.

·        California adopts a homosexual domestic partnership law.

·        France enacts homosexual civil union laws.

·        Israel’s supreme court recognizes a lesbian partner as another legal mother of her partner’s biological son.


  • The British government lifts the ban on homosexuals serving in the armed services.
  • The United Kingdom, Belarus, Switzerland, and Israel reduce the age of consent in homosexual acts.
  • Israel recognizes homosexual relations for immigration purposes for a foreign partner of an Israeli resident.


  • The first homosexual partnerships are registered in London.
  • Arizona repeals its sodomy law.
  • Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Liechtenstein, Western Australia, Albania, Austria, and Hungary all lower the age of consent for homosexual acts.
  • The Netherlands legalizes homosexual marriage.


  • Sweden legalizes adoption for homosexual couples.
  • Zurich extends marriage-like rights to homosexual couples.
  • Moldova and Romania lower the age of consent for homosexual acts.
  • China decriminalizes homosexuality.


  • U.S. Supreme Court strikes down remaining state sodomy laws.
  • Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court votes in favor of homosexual marriage.
  • Germany’s Supreme Court upholds the country’s homosexual civil union laws.
  • Armenia decriminalizes homosexuality.
  • Lithuania, the Northern Territory and New South Wales all lower the age of consent for homosexual acts.


  • San Francisco officials begin issuing marriage licenses to homosexual couples.
  • Homosexual marriage becomes legal in Massachusetts.
  • Portugal amends its Constitution to protect homosexuals from discrimination.
  • Belgium legalizes homosexual marriage.
  • New Jersey legalizes homosexual civil unions.
  • New Zealand passes a homosexual civil union bill.
  • Cape Verde legalizes homosexuality.
  • Puerto Rico repeals its sodomy laws.
  • Rio Grande do Sul and Brazil accept homosexual civil unions.
  • Luxembourg introduces homosexual civil partnerships.



  • New Zealand is the first nation in the world to outlaw discrimination of the basis of gender identity or transsexuality.
  • Hong Kong lowers the age of consent for homosexual acts.
  • Fiji invalidates its sodomy laws.
  • Canada and Spain legalize homosexual marriage.
  • Switzerland votes to extend rights to registered homosexual couples.
  • The United Kingdom introduces homosexual civil partnerships with rights equal to marriage.
  • Maine adds sexual orientation and gender identity to its existing anti-discrimination laws.
  • Connecticut legalizes homosexual marriage.
  • South Africa legalizes homosexual marriage.


  • Illinois outlaws sexual orientation discrimination.
  • Washington adds sexual orientation to its existing anti-discrimination laws.
  • Missouri legalizes homosexual acts between consenting adults.
  • The first gay pride parade in Moscow ends in violence.
  • The first regional Eastern European Pride is held in Croatia.
  • The United States Senate fails to pass the Federal Marriage Amendment
  • The Czech Republic and Slovenia introduce homosexual civil partnerships.
  • Serbia, Kosovo, and Vojvodina lower the age of consent for homosexual acts.


  • Switzerland’s homosexual civil union law to take effect on January 1st.